My high school senior recently fell and hurt her knee. After a week with little improvement, we scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, and he ordered an MRI for that evening. When we checked in for the image, I asked for the price of the MRI, and was told insurance reimbursed $1,400. Based on my knowledge that other providers charged $420, I asked for a lower price as I was not willing to pay $1,000 unnecessarily under my high-deductible plan. The provider eventually agreed to a cash price of $400.
When we got the favorable results from the orthopedist the next day, I asked if he knew how much the provider charged for the MRI. He was shocked to learn it was $1,400. I then asked why he sent patients to a provider that overcharges by $1,000, when this excess expense could bankrupt a patient. This is a serious gap in care process, and the patient and the employer bear this unnecessary financial burden.
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